1. Advertising
    y u no do it?

    Advertising (learn more)

    Advertise virtually anything here, with CPM banner ads, CPM email ads and CPC contextual links. You can target relevant areas of the site and show ads based on geographical location of the user if you wish.

    Starts at just $1 per CPM or $0.10 per CPC.

My Review of Build a Niche Store (BANS)

Discussion in 'Commission Junction' started by Paintball Guns, Dec 10, 2007.

  1. #1
    This is my review of Build a Niche Store (BANS). In short, BANS does what a good script should do: It's easy, it works, and it makes money.

    What is BANS?

    For those unfamiliar with BANS, this is a script you install on your website (like Wordpress) that creates an online store filled with products from eBay. When a visitor clicks on a product, the eBay page for that product opens in the visitor's browser and they can complete the purchase.

    Setup and System Requirements

    BANS can be set up as easily as Wordpress. The requirements for BANS appear to be the same as Wordpress (PHP, MySQL, Apache, etc.). You also need to set up an account on Commission Junction to get a code for each BANS store (so you can track the income from each store separately).

    The default website will be operational in under 10 minutes. Then you can customize your store to no end.

    Customization

    Customization includes adding product categories, narrowing the product selection, changing the theme (colors, layout, etc.), adding text to the pages to improve SEO, and adding ads from Adsense or affiliates.

    Customization is the part that takes time. It is very similar to customizing a Wordpress blog, if you've done that. The setup is quick and easy. The customization process is easy, but writing content, adding images, adding ads, etc. all take time.

    Results

    I've had BANS for under a month. I've already recouped the cost of buying BANS ($97 is the cost, I think). Most of my income has been from the $20 payment I receive from eBay when a visitor signs up for a new account from eBay. Over half my visitors who make a purchase on eBay have set up a new eBay account. The percentage that eBay pays from the actual sale is small, and has amounted to only about 10% of the total income I've received. That is, the payment for new users has been 90% of the total income I've received from eBay since installing my BANS stores.

    Now I could either leave the stores to make more money while I do other things, improve my stores for increased traffic, or set up other stores. I plan to make my stores more visually appealing (add logos, etc.) and keep building them, along with creating a few more stores as I find good product niches. One strategy I've found successful with these stores---and the BANS forum members reiterate this---is to focus on a small niche rather than an entire product area. My most narrow sites get the most traffic, probably because they are in less competitive keywords.

    Google Indexing

    Originally I worried that Google would not index my BANS stores because of the dynamic content. However, Google has indexed them and the googlebot returns frequently because of the ever-changing content. Of course, adding my own content has increased the terms for which Google has ranked the pages.

    BANS has all the regular SEO features including fields for meta tags, SEO friendly URLs, etc.

    There are a few things I wish BANS did better.

    First, I wish each category could be sorted in its own order. Currently, all categories are sorted in whatever order is selected for the site. Sort orders include 1) highest price, 2) ending soonest, 3) lowest price, etc (like on eBay).

    Second, I wish BANS had its own sitemap generator. But I just used one of the free sitemap generators online.

    There were a couple other features or changes I wanted while I was working on my sites, but they were minor, and I can't think of them now. These ideas have been posted in the "Features Request" forum on the BANS site, so the script designer can consider them.

    Support

    The BANS forum has a great group of people and is full of answers to newbie and advanced techie questions. I found answers to every question I had there without having to post once. Still, the forum is active, so answers are relatively quick.

    BANS Demos / Examples

    Here are my current BANS sites for your consideration. Please note that I haven't spent any time making them look nice. I just set up basic sites without much customization.

    Cheap Paintball Guns
    Ghillie Suit
    K Cups
    Water Filters
    Xbox 360 Games
    Wii Games
    Buy Wii Games
    Probiotics
    Buy Pan
    Cake Pan
    Vitamins Skin
    Pans Pots

    BANS Competitors
    SEMrush
    I haven't tried other eBay API scripts, but I've been very happy with BANS and see no reason to try others.

    Keep in mind, BANS is a script that creates an entire site. It is not a plugin for Wordpress or some other site. Although BANS users have customized their BANS store to integrate with Wordpress, that requires the technical knowledge of those familiar with PHP and CSS. When used as a store, BANS can be run by someone without PHP or CSS knowledge.

    My Motivation Behind This Review

    Why am I posting this? I don't have an affiliate link or any relationship with BANS besides being a customer. Instead, I'm hoping the information is helpful and because of this, some of you might "add to my reputation" here on Digital Point Forums.

    Visit the BANS homepage here: BANS
     
    Paintball Guns, Dec 10, 2007 IP
    decodethis, anions, MrWizard and 2 others like this.
    SEMrush
  2. emphi

    emphi Peon

    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    0
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    #2
    Great review! I have been using BANS for a couple of days only, and I have only set up one store.. Actually, seems like we're going to compete about the customers ;) Check my signature and you'll know :p

    Anyway, I was just wondering about how you have been promoting your sites. What methods do you use to get traffic?
     
    emphi, Dec 11, 2007 IP
  3. fireworks-styles

    fireworks-styles Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    234
    Likes Received:
    5
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    158
    #3
    A good read :)
     
    fireworks-styles, Dec 11, 2007 IP
  4. cylai

    cylai Peon

    Messages:
    549
    Likes Received:
    6
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    #4
    good review!

    I thought u want to remind the general users that only eBay afffiliate should buy BANS.
     
    cylai, Dec 11, 2007 IP
  5. decodethis

    decodethis Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    436
    Likes Received:
    24
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    128
    #5
    Nice writeup. :) And not an aff-link in the mix either.
     
    decodethis, Dec 11, 2007 IP
  6. potentmix

    potentmix Peon

    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    9
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    #6
    My biggest concern with BANS is that Google will look upon the site(s) as being "thin affiliate sites" for which Google has expressed a singular hatred. I know, I know, you have to add valuable, Pulitzer Prize worthy, content. That's a given. But, I remain concerned that the "rover" links scream AFFILIATE! AFFILIATE! Call the cops!

    BANS does offer a service for $30 to mask the links which I think is a good idea. On the other hand, the phpBay plugin for WordPress automatically masks the links. IMO, BANS should not charge for this.
     
    potentmix, Dec 11, 2007 IP
  7. Paintball Guns

    Paintball Guns Active Member

    Messages:
    173
    Likes Received:
    8
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    60
    #7
    This is exactly what I was concerned about. It hasn't been a problem yet, but I do worry that Google will penalize the site for all the affiliate links.

    I agree that BANS should provide this for free. Maybe someone can write a mod script that will do it, and offer that mod for free. The BANS forum is active with script writers.

    True. However, becoming an eBay affiliate merely involves being a Commission Junction member and applying for the eBay program within Commission Junction. Still, you are correct, and this obviously applies to the BANS competitors using the eBay affiliate program.

    You are going downnnnn! :) So far, I've only promoted the site with a backlink from one of my other paintball sites (on a different server). If you want to do a link exchange, PM me. By the way, your BANS store has a nice template---mind sharing where you got it?
     
    Paintball Guns, Dec 11, 2007 IP
  8. Kelvin

    Kelvin Peon

    Messages:
    393
    Likes Received:
    9
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    #8
    Hi Guys,

    It's Kelvin here from BANS.

    Just wanted to clarify that we are not charging for the link masking. The offer comes from a BANS member who does not work for us.

    The good news, however, is that url masking will be included in the BANS Version 3 update which will be released in the New Year.

    The update will include lots of other new features and as always will be FREE for all BANS members.

    Kelvin
     
    Kelvin, Dec 11, 2007 IP
  9. emphi

    emphi Peon

    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    0
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    #9
    Hi Kelvin!

    I am just wondering about Version 3. How will it work to convert a v.2 store to a v.3 store? Can you give us some information about how the convertion from v.2 to v.3 will be?
     
    emphi, Dec 11, 2007 IP
  10. Kelvin

    Kelvin Peon

    Messages:
    393
    Likes Received:
    9
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    #10
    Hi emphi...I hope you're getting on well with BANS since we spoke last.

    Each time we do an update we provide two things:

    1. The complete new files (ie BANS version 3.0) for building new stores, and
    2. The update files necessary to convert a 2.0 store to a 3.0 store.

    Updating a 2.0 store to a 3.0 store is a simple step by step procedure which will take about a minute and you won't lose anything you've already done on that store (ie new store pages / content pages etc).

    Kelvin
     
    Kelvin, Dec 11, 2007 IP
  11. potentmix

    potentmix Peon

    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    9
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    #11
    That is good news! Any estimate on when the new version will be released, and will we be able to apply masking to existing sites? Thanks.
     
    potentmix, Dec 11, 2007 IP
  12. Kelvin

    Kelvin Peon

    Messages:
    393
    Likes Received:
    9
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    #12
    We don't have an exact date yet but we're aiming for January and you'll be able to apply masking to your existing sites by converting them to version 3.0 stores as described above.
     
    Kelvin, Dec 11, 2007 IP
  13. potentmix

    potentmix Peon

    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    9
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    #13
    Full steam ahead!
     
    potentmix, Dec 11, 2007 IP
  14. usmanzali

    usmanzali Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,168
    Likes Received:
    59
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    145
    #14
    Thx a lot enjoyed reading. Good info. Could you include how to pormote or get people to the site?
     
    usmanzali, Dec 11, 2007 IP
  15. Paintball Guns

    Paintball Guns Active Member

    Messages:
    173
    Likes Received:
    8
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    60
    #15
    I don't have any ideas besides the regular SEO traffic generating ideas you see around this forum. I imagine there are ways to drive traffic to a store that are unique to that type of site, but I haven't focused on that myself. Practical Ecommerce has a number of SEO tips for online store owners, so you could check out those.
     
    Paintball Guns, Dec 12, 2007 IP
  16. Zibblu

    Zibblu Guest

    Messages:
    3,770
    Likes Received:
    98
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    #16
    I've been setting up a few BANS sites over the past few days and I'm pretty happy with it so far.
     
    Zibblu, Dec 12, 2007 IP
  17. darkmessiah

    darkmessiah Peon

    Messages:
    501
    Likes Received:
    9
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    #17
    Is there anyone who has used bans for over 2 months, and still has there site index with google? I noticed google picked up on the keywords from an Ebay script I made, and I was ranking for some crazy searches. Now my site is in the "sandbox".

    I'm wondering if all you guys running bans are seeing the same thing, where you will get lots of search traffic your first or second month, then all of a sudden drop out of search all together?
     
    darkmessiah, Dec 12, 2007 IP
  18. Pixelrage

    Pixelrage Peon

    Messages:
    5,083
    Likes Received:
    128
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    #18
    yup..the site in my sig has suffered from this now.
     
    Pixelrage, Dec 12, 2007 IP
  19. WharfeValley Systems

    WharfeValley Systems Active Member

    Messages:
    1,515
    Likes Received:
    20
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    80
    #19
    yup i have to rely on traffic from non google measures,

    hopefully with the new update and bit more time for content i can avoid this.

    Although i still get 500+ UV a days from yahoo/msn ... never forget about them!
     
    WharfeValley Systems, Dec 12, 2007 IP
  20. potentmix

    potentmix Peon

    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    9
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    #20
    I love the looks of your site.

    I don't think your plunge in Google has anything to do with your site. You've done a good job of link building, etc. As to reasons, let me speculate:

    1. Your niche is competitive in the extreme.
    2. The eBay links scream AFFILIATE! Google has an exceptional hatred toward "thin affiliate sites", and your site may have been branded as such algorithmically.

    While I would agree that you have value added content, the algo may not agree. That's why with the next BANS upgrade, the link cloaking feature will be so important, IMO.
     
    potentmix, Dec 12, 2007 IP